Education Ministry denies informing Arabiyya School board to mix genders

Deputy Education Minister Dr Abdulla Nazeer has denied his department ordered the management of Arabiyya School to mix classes of male and female students in grade eight in an attempt to solve capacity issues at the site.

Daily newspaper Haveeru has reported that the Principal of Arabiyya School, Sheikh Mohamed Rasheed ibrahim Rasheed, had claimed that management at the site had been informed by the Education Ministry to mix females and males in grades eight and nine to try and solve the capacity issue.

”After the capacity issue of Arabiyya School came to light, outrage was sparked among parents, who then came out to protest,” said Dr Abdull Nazeer. ”Therefore, the ministry looked in to the matter and examined the registry of the school. We found out that there were classes conducted with only 14, 13 or 12 students.”

Dr Nazeer said that the ministry then advised the school management that if these classes were merged, the issue would be solved ”as the standard capacity for a classroom is 32 students.”

”If the school management wishes, they could still continue the classes with fewer students,” Dr Nazeer said. ”We never forced or ordered the school management to do so.” He added that most of the classes in Arabiyya School already had female and male pupils studying together.

However, Haveeru quoted Arabiyya’s principal as saying that he was not comfortable with allowing female and male students to receive mixed education in grade eight and nine due to religious and social concerns.

Sheikh Rasheed added that his concerns were shared by parents of the school’s students.

According to Haveeru, the decision to merge classes would allow 64 students to enrol in grade one of Arabiyya School. Sheikh Rasheed was not available for comment at the time of going to press when contacted by Minivan News.


Aminiyya School board threaten resignation over introduction of grade one

The board of the girls-only ‘Aminiyya School’ have expressed concern over the Education Ministry’s decision to introduce grade 1 students to the school next year, claiming that the structural integrity of the building made it a danger to minors.

Ahmed Ali, a board member of the school, told Minivan News that the board members were concerned that the school building was “very old and weak”.

“The building is 32 years-old and was built with stones, it is very weak and if minors were brought in it would be very dangerous,’’ claimed Ahmed. “We have informed the education ministry several times about the condition of the building – last Sunday the whole board went for an urgent meeting with the ministry to discuss the issue.’’

The whole board, Ahmed said declined to bring minors to the school unless the building was renewed or refurbished to a strong condition and decided to resign if the ministry acted otherwise.

‘’The education ministry said there was nowhere elsewhere to keep the students,’’ said Ahmed.

The board also claimed it opposed the introduction of grade 1 students because of “social issues”.

“This is a school for females and some of them wear short skirts up to the knees,” said Ahmed. “If minors were brought in parents will have to come inside the school compound to fetch the students. If parents can come inside the schools compound, it won’t be only parents who will come in.’’

He claimed that other people would also come into the school “and harass the students.”

Deputy Minister for Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer said the ministry was aware of the concerns of the board.

“Their main concern was the building and it’s structural weaknesses,’’ said Dr Nazeer. “We have surveyed the building to determine its condition and have included the money needed to renew the building in our budget.’’

Dr Nazeer said when the parliament approves the budget, the project to renew the building will be commence.